New Zealand Rugby to monitor betting patterns in bid to stop match-fixing

New Zealand Rugby to monitor betting patterns in bid to stop match-fixing
New Zealand Rugby have begun monitoring global betting patterns in an attempt to guard against match-fixing. As rugby moves into ever larger financial markets, NZ Rugby has signed a two-year deal with international company Sportradar. Fraud Detection …
By Stuff.co.nz on Wed, 18 Feb 2015 08:00:16 -0800

Big weekend for 3-year-olds

Saturday and Sunday will comprise the biggest weekend of the season for Kentucky Derby hopefuls on the road to the Run for the Roses on May 2.

Four important stakes races for 3-year-olds will be offered over the two days with significant points available in two of them to allow the winners a place in the Derby’s 20-horse field at Churchill Downs.

These Derby prep races will begin with the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile event has drawn a field of eight with local winner Upstart the 8-5 morning line favorite.

Upstart, trained by Rick Violette, won Gulfstream’s Holy Bull Stakes last month and will be challenged Saturday by the next three horses under the wire in that event. Runner-up Frosted is 5-2 in the program, while third-place finisher Bluegrass Singer is 8-1 and Bina and Juan, fourth in the Holy Bull, is 20-1 in the morning line. The winning 3-year-old receives 50 points, which should guarantee a spot in the Run for the Roses.

“I think the winner was most impressive that day and, hopefully, he doesn’t run as impressive this time and he drops back to us a length or two and we gain a length or two with the blinkers and a better post position,” Frosted’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.

About 55 minutes after the Fountain of Youth will be the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes from Fair Grounds. The 1 1/16-mile stakes has attracted 10 3-year-olds with 50 points going to the winner as well.

The morning line odds for the Risen Star offers little separation among the 10 entered. The 7-2 favorite is Imperia, making his 2015 debut for McLaughlin following a two-month break.

Local winner International Star is 9-2 in the program, but has drawn the far outside post position. The colt won Fair Grounds’ Lecomte Stakes in January over War Story. Saturday’s 5-1 co-third choice, War Story was sent to Oaklawn Park for the Southwest Stakes, but returned to New Orleans after drawing post 11.

“It just didn’t work out. We drew an outside post position and there’s a strong statistical negative to that post,” trainer Tom Amoss noted. War Story has post 6 for Saturday.

Going off around the same time as the Risen Star will be the $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park. Named for the 2009 Kentucky Derby champ, the Mine That Bird Derby will have six 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles. While no Kentucky Derby points are available, the race is a prep for the Sunland Derby, which offers 50 qualifying points to the winner.

Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle Cinco Charlie, the even-money program favorite, in the Mine That Bird. Cinco Charlie won the track’s Riley Allison Derby four weeks ago by nine lengths and has six wins in nine career starts.

Another stakes race Saturday will be the $75,000 Turf Paradise Derby from Turf Paradise in Arizona. The 1 1/16-mile stakes offers no Kentucky Derby points, but nine 3-year-olds have been entered with the Sunland Derby often the next race.

The weekend racing was extended into Sunday after the postponement of the $300,000 Southwest Stakes from President’s Day to Sunday at Oaklawn Park. Post positions needed to be redrawn for the Southwest, a 1 1/16-mile prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 11.

A dozen 3-year-olds were originally entered, but several also have been entered for the Risen Star. Expected for the Southwest are Far Right, Private Prospect, Bayerd, The Truth Or Else, Kantune, Phenomenal Phoenix, Majestico, Bold Conquest, Mr. Z and Bold Animaux. Original Southwest entrants War Story and J S Bach are entered in the Fair Grounds stakes.

“With another week, anybody who had run within the last 13 days, now they’re looking at 20 days,” Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope said. “It seems like another chapter in the horse’s life when you go another week.”

Far Right won the track’s Smarty Jones Stakes last month and again will have Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle.

Ronaldo, Real topple Schalke

Gelsenkirchen, Germany  – Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal and assisted on another as Real Madrid secured a 2-0 first-leg win in its Champions League knockout round match at Schalke on Wednesday.

Madrid entered the fixture as heavy favorites to reach the quarterfinals, and Wednesday’s result puts them well on their way as Ronaldo headed his team in front in the 26th minute before setting up a fine strike from Marcelo 11 minutes from time.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team now returns home for the second leg on March 10 with a comfortable lead and should have little trouble advancing to the last eight against a Schalke side that put up a strong effort on Wednesday.

Former Madrid forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar had the first chance in the 25th minute when he tested goalkeeper Iker Casillas with a 20-yard effort that forced the netminder to make a save at full stretch.

But just one minute later Madrid took the lead through Ronaldo as he made a well-timed run to the front of goal and sent a glancing header past goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther from a Daniel Carvajal cross.

Wellenreuther did well to keep out a low shot from Karim Benzema after he was released in behind the Schalke defense by Toni Kroos, and he came up big once again in the 35th to tip a free kick from Ronaldo onto the crossbar.

Isco squandered a good chance to double the lead in the 72nd when he played a one-two with Gareth Bale and fired a shot over the net from inside the box, while Schalke came within inches of equalizing a few minutes later.

A long ball was knocked down inside the box by Atsuto Uchida, setting up a first-time shot for substitute Felix Platte that hammered the crossbar.

The visitors extended their lead in the 79th following a nice individual effort from Ronaldo, who split two defenders on the left wing and fed a pass to Marcelo inside the area. The Brazilian took a touch and lashed a shot into the upper right corner to put the result the away.

Wednesday’s other match saw FC Porto and FC Basel battle to a 1-1 draw as Porto’s Danilo converted a penalty kick in the 79th minute to cancel out an 11th-minute strike from Basel’s Derlis Gonzalez.

Mayweather, Pacquiao agree to fight

Report: Mayweather, Pacquiao agree to fight

The wait is apparently over, boxing fans.

According to England’s The Sunday Telegraph, one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history will likely take place May 2 in Las Vegas between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Fans and analysts alike have long voiced their desire to see a meeting between two of boxing’s biggest draws and best fighters, but monetary issues have held up the possible fight on numerous occasions over the years.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Pacquiao completed his contractual agreements Saturday and Mayweather is set to sign soon.

The fighters will split $250 million for the fight, according to the report, with Mayweather expected to get 60 percent of that purse.

Mayweather (47-0) is coming off back-to-back wins over Marcos Maidana while Pacquiao (57-5) has won three straight fights since losing consecutive bouts to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Day jumps to No. 4 in world rankings

Day jumps to No. 4 in world rankings

Philadelphia, PA – Jason Day defeated J.B. Holmes, Harris English and 2014 champion Scott Stallings in a playoff to win the Farmers Insurance Open Sunday, and that victory helped vault Day into the No. 4 spot in the world rankings.

Day was previously No. 8 in the world, but the win saw him improve four spots up to No. 4.

Rory McIlroy remained in firm control of the world’s No. 1 ranking despite not playing last week. Also staying put was Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.

As he jumped up to No. 4, Day bumped fellow Australian Adam Scott down one to No. 5. Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia swapped spots, with Furyk up one to No. 6 and Garcia down one to No. 7.

After missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week, Justin Rose fell three spots from five to eight. Jordan Spieth also missed the cut, but he is still at nine, while Matt Kuchar held steady at 10.

Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker and Hideki Matsuyama remained Nos. 11-14, while Patrick Reed and Victor Dubuisson traded places, with Reed jumping one to 15 and Dubuisson falling a spot to 16.

Billy Horschel, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell rounded out the top 20 again from No. 17.

After withdrawing in the first round of last week’s event, Tiger Woods continued to fall further in the world rankings. Woods dropped six spots to No. 62, which is the worst he has been since October of 1996.

Looking to punch his Masters ticket this year, Anirban Lahiri jumped 36 spots into the top 50 and up to No. 37 following his 1-shot victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open last week.

Inside Boxing: Gennady Golovkin can relight the fire of free-to-air boxing

Inside Boxing: Gennady Golovkin can relight the fire of free-to-air boxing
Promoter Mick Hennessy explains to ESPN why boxing on free-to-air television is so important for the sport. Hennessy has a deal with Channel 5, which will be showing WBA world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin against St Helens’ Martin Murray …
By ESPN.co.uk on Wed, 04 Feb 2015 03:43:08 -0800

Boxing Moonbat Press Still Outraged No Black Heavyweight Champion..They Will Makeup ANYTHINGBoxing loses credibility with every new champion. Can the sport be saved?

Boxing loses credibility with every new champion. Can the sport be saved?
Put bluntly, rankings and titles in boxing have become trivialised beyond recognition. If you flood a market with a particular commodity, you must be prepared to watch the value of that stock plummet dramatically. In a sport where hard, cold, often
By The Guardian on Mon, 02 Feb 2015 02:07:30 -0800

Sauber’s 2015 Formula 1 Car Is Blue, And That Makes Us Happy

Sauber’s 2015 Formula 1 Car Is Blue, And That Makes Us Happy
The last few Sauber F1 cars have sported dull, grey colour schemes. We were starting to worry that the new car would be of a similar aesthetic persuasion; the succession of grey and silver cars launched for 2015 thus far made us wonder if half the grid
By Car Throttle on Fri, 30 Jan 2015 08:52:30 -0800

Casino industry: deep relationships, potential conflicts

Casino industry: deep relationships, potential conflicts
When a Chicago law firm ended its 11/2-year relationship with a partner in the Lago Resort & Casino project last March, it had another big client waiting in the wings. That month, the firm, which specializes in representing the gambling industry and
By Press & Sun-Bulletin on Sat, 24 Jan 2015 20:30:00 -0800

More Casino Losses Seen on Chinese Corruption Crackdown: Options

More Casino Losses Seen on Chinese Corruption Crackdown: Options
Each stock lost more than 25 percent in the past year as Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to battle illicit money channeled through Macau’s casinos. The crackdown is scaring away high rollers. Gambling revenue in the former Portuguese enclave fell in …
By Bloomberg on Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:15:00 -0800

Casino closings have big impact on A.C. property-tax base

Casino closings have big impact on A.C. property-tax base
The loss of 8,000 jobs in Atlantic City’s casino industry in the last 12 months has sent shock waves through the region’s economy, but an even more precipitous collapse is underway in the city’s property-tax base. Eight or nine years ago, casinos owned
By Philly.com on Mon, 19 Jan 2015 00:03:45 -0800

O\’s Marxist Keynesian College Professor Economic Trickle Up Poverty Theories On Fire: Heart & Soul Of Vegas Strip Files 4 Bankruptcy

Caesars Entertainment Corp. ’s largest unit is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as Thursday, the final gambit of a yearslong attempt to salvage a soured buyout.

Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.’s Chapter 11 filing would launch the final stage of Apollo Global Management LLC’s effort to save some of its $1.7 billion investment in the company, which it took private in 2008 with fellow buyout firm TPG.

A Chapter 11 petition would follow months of contentious negotiations with creditors, a who’s who of Wall Street investors. The unit’s collection of casinos and hotels, including much of the Las Vegas Strip’s iconic Caesars Palace, is expected to operate normally as it works to persuade a judge to approve a restructuring plan that would transform it into a real-estate investment trust.

 
 

Eric Seiler, an attorney for the gambling company, told a Delaware corporate law judge Tuesday that Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. would file for bankruptcy “on or about” Thursday. Another person close to the company said it’s possible the filing could come as late as Tuesday, Jan. 20. Mr. Seiler’s comments came after a group of creditors sought Monday to force the unit into bankruptcy through an involuntary Chapter 11 petition. It isn’t clear where the unit will file bankruptcy papers.

But in an unusual move later Tuesday, Appaloosa Management, Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC and Oaktree Capital Management asked the Delaware bankruptcy court to prevent the unit from filing for Chapter 11 elsewhere while the involuntary petition is pending there.

The restructuring is likely to test how far an owner can go to protect its own interest in bankruptcy. In recent years, Apollo has engineered a series of aggressive financial moves that have positioned the buyout firm to keep a significant stake in the gambling empire even though many creditors aren’t in line for a full repayment.

Some creditors have already challenged those transactions in court, an indication that Apollo may yet be in for a fight despite reaching a restructuring deal with most of the unit’s senior bondholders.

Bankruptcy isn’t the outcome Apollo and TPG had in mind in late 2006 when they teamed up to buy the casino giant, then known as Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. That year, the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City—major hubs for the casino operator—shattered prior gambling revenue records.

“Harrah’s has an excellent brand name, strong cash flows, an impressive portfolio of properties, a very talented management team, and highly skilled employees,” Apollo co-founder and Chief Executive Leon Black said in announcing the deal.

But the world changed by the time the buyout closed in January 2008. Consumers began cutting back on spending as the U.S. financial crisis took hold, and the company’s $22 billion post-buyout debt load quickly became a bigger burden than its buyers had anticipated.

Caesars also encountered another problem: Its efforts to secure a gambling license in Macau failed. Over the past decade, the Chinese territory has become the world’s biggest gambling market, with seven times the revenue of the Las Vegas Strip. Though the financial crisis took a toll on rivals MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp., revenue from Macau operations has revived their balance sheets.

Meanwhile, Caesars’ debt has limited any expansion to modest projects unlikely to contribute much to its bottom line. And one place where Caesars had been dominant—Atlantic City—went into freefall last year, forcing a handful of casinos to close, including Caesars’ Showboat.

Though Caesars remains one of the biggest names in gambling, its casino operations have taken a backseat to its financial woes on quarterly earnings calls. An analyst joked about the situation on a March 2014 call when he requested to ask an operational question “because you guys do run casinos.” Chief Executive Gary Loveman replied: “It’s flattering that you noticed that.”

The parent company has posted losses for each of the last four years, and its total liabilities have climbed to $28.2 billion.

Most of the debt stemming from the buyout is concentrated in Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., the unit expected to file for Chapter 11 protection. In recent years, its owners transferred properties, such as Caesars Palace’s upscale Octavius Tower, to other entities controlled by the parent company.

Some creditors have said these transfers moved valuable assets out of their reach. This past November, a trustee representing senior bondholders filed a lawsuit in Delaware’s Court of Chancery alleging that the assets transferred out of the unit were worth at least $3.6 billion more than the unit received for them.

Caesars and Apollo have defended the moves. Apollo defends its companies “using all the tools available to us,” Apollo spokesman Charles V. Zehren said earlier this month.

Apollo’s maneuvering led to sometimes bitter negotiations with some of the world’s most experienced distressed-debt investors, including Blackstone Group LP’s GSO Capital Partners, Elliott Management Corp., Oaktree and Appaloosa.

Their disputes occasionally spilled into public view. In the November lawsuit, the trustee for the senior bondholders called the Caesars transfers “a case of unimaginably brazen corporate looting.”

Though the unit’s senior lenders still haven’t agreed to back the restructuring, Caesars managed to win the support of its senior bondholders. Senior creditors are slated to get an ownership stake in the new REIT created in the restructuring, along with a mixture of cash and new debt.

Junior bondholders, meanwhile, are slated to recover far less than the senior creditors. A group of these creditors sent a strong signal of their displeasure with the deal earlier in the week when they asked a judge to force the unit into bankruptcy through an involuntary Chapter 11 petition.

On Tuesday, Mr. Seiler, a lawyer for Caesars with Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, said the involuntary petition wouldn’t set the company’s agenda.

A Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. filing would stand out amid a slow period for mega bankruptcies, during which ultralow interest rates have enabled even the riskiest companies to borrow. It would be the largest bankruptcy since Energy Future Holdings Corp., another boom-era buyout formerly known as TXU, sought Chapter 11 protection last April.

The filing comes at the tail end of a shakeout among the multibillion-dollar buyouts that preceded the financial crisis. Some, including silicone and quartz producer Momentive Performance Materials Inc. and textbook publisher Cengage Learning Inc., ended up in bankruptcy court. Others, like real-estate brokerage owner Realogy Holdings Corp. and hotel giant Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., weathered the downturn and generated profits for their owners.

If the restructuring goes as planned for Caesars’s owners, Apollo and TPG will keep a stake in the parent company, allowing them to share in the upside if its fortunes improve.

Corrections & Amplifications

An analyst joked during a March 2014 earnings call about the way questions related to Caesars Entertainment’s casino operations had taken a backseat to those about its financial woes. An earlier version of this article reported incorrectly that the call occurred in November.